If you have heard me complain about my house in Wichita, you know that I am the king of second guessing my home buying choices — I am the KING of Buyer’s Remorse. Today I put pen to paper and put an offer on a house, certain that this was going to be my home for as long as I am an Alaska. I did so without fear, and confidently told myself I had absolutely no reason to feel regret or buyer’s remorse. Five hours later, I tossed that offer away and put another one down to a completely different house.
If you have been watching this blog, you know that I had done some serious house hunting. Over the weekend, I decided I was going to go with “The Highway House” — a 3 bedroom, 1158 sq ft (that’s 107 square meter floor space for your European readers), single family with a 10,000 sq ft lot, big back yard, deck, and in a very livable part of town. At the end of a cul-de-sac it was priced reasonably, though slightly high for it’s neighborhood, and butted up against a major highway running just beyond the fence in the backyard. I had my finances put in place by Monday night, so I let my realitor know I wanted to make an offer today – we made arrangements and I met him at 11am.
The house was listed at $249,500 (keep in mind – housing in Anchorage is Stupid High, and that price would have not gotten me my 4 bed, 1600sq ft house back in Wichita). The municipality had it appraised at $238,500. Based on some houses in the area and the sizes of yards / bedrooms / garages; I was ready to put an offer down at $240,000. My realtor had other thoughts. He did a search on houses sold recently of the same general floor plan near that area; and while most of them were larger than the one I wanted the price per square foot was much less than the listing price. So he talked me into a low bid, $225,000. I wasn’t comfortable with it, but he felt that if they had good offers that beat that they would have gotten it by now … plus, we could always negotiate higher. So the offer was sent to the seller with the list of homes my realtor used to come up with the bid as evidence.
The seller (who was also a realtor) didn’t like it, and said the list of homes weren’t nothing like the ones in the area that are listed. My realtor, now second guessing himself, decided to do a search just to be sure.
And what does second guessing get you? Plan B:
The house went on the market last week, but probably wasn’t listed to anyone outside of the seller’s agency before today. When we visited, there was evidence that at least two others had visited the house already.
In comparison to the Highway House:
Downsides: It isn’t at the end of the cul-de-sac, so I have houses behind and the sides beyond a 6ft fence, so not as much privacy. The furnace is older, and depending on the inspection back it may need to be replaced within the next few years. The roof on 3/4 of the house looks to be original (25+ years old) and may need to be replaced – and the other 1/4 (added as part of an extension) doesn’t quite match the rest of the house.
Upsides: It is in great condition. No need to upgrade exterior, no need to upgrade interior. It’s been taken care very very well – the sellers are still in the house and haven’t done a bit of touch up you normally see, but there is little need to paint the floors or redo carpets. Appliances are new, and depending on the offer acceptance, I wouldn’t need to invest in fridges and wash/dryer that weren’t included in highway house. The deck is bigger and doesn’t need repair. But the real star of the show was the living room, right on the entry into the house — it is fully lofted to the roof and runs almost 2 stories up, well lighted, with part wood paneling floors and part carpet. My immediate reaction was “people will love to visit me IN THIS ROOM”.
My realtor looked at me and said: “I think you should cancel your other offer and jump this one.” At 1300 sq feet, it was bigger than the highway house, and noticeably so. It was listed at $249,500 – the same price as the Highway House was listed; but the municipality was saying this should be closer to $270,000. Comparably, it should go for at least $270k, or even start creeping closer to $3ook. When I asked my realtor what he though I should offer, he said: “This is under priced, if you offer their listed price they may just take it. If you wait, someone else will make an offer and you could lose this. If you list it under, someone else may come along and you’ll run the risk of a bidding war. Give them every reason to accept your first offer.”
There I was, five hours after making an offer on a house, I was cancelling it and making a second offer on a different house. I was more anxious the second time around, though I don’t know why. Likely it was the speed of it all, no time to sleep on it. Part of me was worried that I am jumping into something I felt I can’t back out of. But as I sit here a couple hours later its sinking in that I may have fallen onto the best bet of luck this summer has given me.
I wanted a house that I could move into without any major work to be done … this would do it.
I wanted a house that I felt would be easy to keep up … this would be easy.
I wanted a house that gave me the sense of privacy and spaciousness .. this fits the bill.
I wanted a house in a neighborhood that I could do fun things like hiking, walking, riding a bike, wandering to a coffee shop, hang out at a cool place, be not far from work, not far from downtown, not far from the stuff I wanted to do … this is going to be as good as it gets.
I wanted a house that is in my price range … this did it.
The seller has until tomorrow night to respond, so expect an update on the blog on Wednesday. For now, I need to find a geocache and a beer.
*side note — thoughts and prayers go out to those folk down in the deep south in the path of Tropicane Issac. Stay safe!